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In this post
Start Off on the Right Foot
Lead with Honesty and Trust
Be Firm Throughout the Process
Provide Interview Coaching
Schedule a Post-Hire Meeting
But as you know, a good relationship between a recruiter and a Hiring Manager (HM) is paramount to a positive candidate experience. Not only do you want your candidates to have the best experience possible, but your relationship with Hiring Managers also factors into how much you’re enjoying your job as a recruiter.
At the end of the day, recruiters and Hiring Managers share the same goal: they want to find the best individuals for their open roles. While the HM is more familiar with the role’s function and responsibilities, the recruiters are tasked with sourcing the talent and combing through applicants to find a select few to bring to final interviews. So how, as the recruiter, do you ensure the relationship is positive and not painful?
Set up a meeting as soon as you are aware of an open role (the earlier, the better). Make sure you both are on the same page about qualifications, role responsibilities, etc. As the recruiter, go in having researched the industry, competitors, geography, and salaries.
In this kickoff meeting, make this time to educate your Hiring Manager on your recruiting process. This could be their first time hiring or maybe their first time working with you, and they may not be familiar with pipelines, sourcing, screening, etc.
Draft a job description together. Ensure it focuses on the opportunity the job provides rather than the responsibilities it requires. Choose your words wisely. As the recruiter, you’re up to date on which words hold bias and which words have a high response rate.
Work together to formulate an interview plan and schedule. Ask your Hiring Manager about past hires who’ve been successful. What qualities do they possess that contributed to their success? Once you’ve determined these, figure out which questions would help reveal these qualities during an interview. Additionally, anticipate the questions candidates will ask while interviewing. For instance: Why is the role open? What is the culture like on the team? When’s the start date?
Bring a few preliminary candidate profiles with you. Even if they’re far from being the right fit for the role, going over them with the Hiring Manager will be hugely beneficial in informing the rest of your search.
Like all relationships, a good relationship between a recruiter and their Hiring Manager is based on trust. In order to have trust, you must be honest with one another. Sometimes it’s intimidating to push back on Hiring Manager’s asks (or demands). Remember, you're the expert. You know whether they’re asking for too much when offering too little. The more honest you are with them upfront, the more they’ll trust you throughout the process.
Talk with the Hiring Manager and make sure they’re realistic with the skills they want candidates to have. Which are “need to haves” and which are “nice to haves”? Is the salary they’re offering adequate for the role and the area? Be open about your ability and bandwidth, too. If you’re not proficient when it comes to interviewing software engineers, let your HM know. They can make sure a team member is available to help.
Communicate more than you think you have to. Are you waiting to find one more candidate before sending a batch of resumes to your HM? Let them know so they don’t feel you’re forgetting about them.
Determine your communication preferences. This is super simple but can make a huge difference. Some people are great on email while some have unanswered emails from Y2K but will text you back in a second.
Set deadlines for each other and respect them. If sourcing candidates for a certain role is taking longer than you expected, let your Hiring Manager know and adjust your deadlines accordingly. Make sure your HM has time set aside on their calendar to review resumes and interview candidates, too.
Consider setting up a service agreement with outlined responsibilities. For example, the recruiter agrees to source 10 candidates by X date and the Hiring Manager agrees to review all resumes within 48 hours of receiving them. At the end of the day, you both want the same thing! But if communication or timing is cloudy, your process falls off the tracks and candidates slip through the cracks.
If a Hiring Manager is new or doesn’t hire frequently, it’s critical to do some interview coaching. Make sure they stick to a list of preset questions so no subconsciously biased questions slip in. In extreme situations, the wrong questions could have legal ramifications which lead to legal fees and damage the company’s reputation. Interview coaching is also just good practice for the HM, and can help them workout any nerves because, yes, it’s not just the interviewee who gets nervous! Consider creating supplementary material like an information booklet or video that you can give to your Hiring Manager. It’s helpful and shows how much effort you put into your work.
After the ink on the offer letter has dried, set up a final meeting with the Hiring Manager to review the experience. If everything went well, this might just be a quick check in where you exchange pleasantries. Hopefully, it’s a learning experience and you’ll be able to walk away from the meeting with constructive feedback. Try to learn and grow from each experience with a Hiring Manager and you’ll always be improving as a recruiter.
So to recap, to have the best relationship possible with your Hiring Manager you should…
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